With Toronto’s win over Philadelphia on Saturday night, the stage was set for the New England Black Wolves to lock up their ticket to the postseason. However, the Rochester Knighthawks were looking to play spoiler and keep their own playoff hopes alive.
Sunday afternoon’s matchup at Mohegan Sun Arena did not go as planned for the New England Black Wolves (7-7). Behind amazing goaltending from Warren Hill, the Rochester Knighthawks (3-11) ended an eight game losing streak with a 13-8 victory.
The game started off somewhat slow with the game’s first goal coming with 2:14 left in the first quarter when Jackson Nishimura started a trend of transition goals with his fourth goal of the year. New England had no goals in transition in their previous game against Philadelphia, but transition goals have been a key to their success. They have had at least three goals coming from defensemen or transition players in each of their seven wins this year and have not lost when those contributions have happened.
Rochester was able to turn that around on New England in Sunday’s game and use transition goals to take over this matchup in the middle periods of the game.
It all started in the second quarter when Kyle Jackson started the scoring with a power play goal off a quick transition 2:26 in. Ryan Benesch and Cody Jamieson traded goals with Joe Resetarits and Callum Crawford but another tally from Jackson would give Rochester a 5-4 lead and they never looked back.
After being shut out in the first quarter, Rochester scored six in the second quarter and outscored New England 7-4 in the second half to put this one out of reach.
Jackson had a game-high three goals for Rochester while Mike Burke led the way with five points (2G, 3A). Four Knighthawks netted at least two goals. Goaltender Hill kept them in it early stopping 16 of 17 quality opportunities in the first quarter. Hill had 50 saves in total, only allowing eight goals to the Black Wolves.
Reilly O’Connor and former Knighthawk, Joe Resetarits led the Black Wolves with two goals apiece. Coming off a two game absence due to suspension, Crawford was kept quiet only scoring one goal on the afternoon. Doug Jamieson made 44 saves in the losing effort.
New England welcomes the West leading, San Diego Seals to Mohegan Sun Arena next weekend as they will once again have an opportunity to punch their ticket to the playoffs. Face-off is set for 7:00 P.M. next Saturday when the Seals will make their first appearance at Mohegan Sun.